Monday, May 26, 2014

Dear Family,

Fun Games!
     So after lots of packing and lots of hard goodbyes I’m now here in my 4th and final area- Santiago :) My new companion is Sister Maestrado (My-Straw-Dough) haha just if you want to know the right pronunciation. This is her last cycle which means I’ll be the one to “kill” her in the mission. She is great and so sweet! We’ve already been pretty busy here with a few things, apartment checks, a CSP, a church tour that our ward put on and that we helped with, and of course working and me getting to know the people and the area. We’ll have splits coming up this week, so I need to get ready for that first. Even though I wasn’t expecting the transfer and even though I really am missing our investigators from Alicia I can tell that the transfer was exactly what I needed. I am loving being here and applying the great things that I’ve learned from my past few cycles in Alicia with Sister Broqueza. Really this past week being here I’ve realized how much I’ve learned and how much I’ve grown. I must be old here in the mission, cause I feel like I’ve got a pretty good hang of being a missionary. I am loving it here and am going to really enjoy these last two cycles. My ward so far seems great and they seem very excited and enthusiastic about missionary work, telling us all about the people that they are preparing right now to give to us as referrals. So we could possibly have a few new families to be teaching here in the new future. We definitely need to get a good teaching pool going here, so there is a lot to do, but I’m way excited for it. Everything is so new right now here but I’m excited to get to know everyone. The sisters that we are living with right now seem really great too. Oh and if I didn’t mention it already, I’m living in a dream house. Ha I didn’t know that apartments like this existed in the mission, and we’re way close to everything, I feel blessed. 

Saying good-bye in Alicia!
   So hopefully this next week I’ll have a bit more to tell you about my new area. But for now, some updates on my old area- Saturday was Jen’s baptism! And even though I didn’t get to be there for it I’m way happy for her and excited to see what is up ahead for her. She wants to serve a misison, and I know she’d do a great job. The couples out in Callao are doing great as well and it was super hard saying goodbye to them. I’m also excited for them, knowing that some baptisms will be coming up for them. It was also way sad saying goodbye to one of our investigators (my little brother here), but once again I’m so happy for him and proud of the good decisions that he is making and I don’t doubt that it wont be long before he is baptized as well. I’m just typing this and realizing how many miracles I’ve been blessed to see in these past months, and it is hard to explain how happy it makes me. People can change :) We can do hard things, because of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I love being here, I know my life has been eternally blessed by these amazing experiences and amazing people I have met and grown with here in my mission. … and, I’m glad that I’ve still got a bit more time to learn and grow! Hope you all have a great week! Love and miss you!
- Sister Stabenow

Service in Santiago!  Her new area
Sister Stabenow and her new Companion Sister Maestrado

Monday, May 19, 2014

Guess What!

Well I'll start with the transfer news....... I'm being transferred! My companion was SO sure that she'd be the one transferred, so I was really shocked this morning when my name was on the transfer list. I guess I have some saying goodbye to do and LOTS of packing to do before Wednesday. I think it is safe to say that I'm heading to my last area here on the mission, so my 4th area coming up and 3rd zone. 
    So since this was our last week as companions, Sister Broqueza and I decided to make it extra fun. So we went on several little running adventures this past week for our exercise time. One time to go and pick alatiris, another morning to this cool river and bridge, and for the last one we went pretty far and circled around our favorite area- Callao. 
Sister Davis & Sister Stabenow on splits
    This week we went on two splits. The first one I was with Sister Berghout (from Ogden), and it was a lot of fun getting to know her and work together and also hear from her about their work back in Jones. The next one was with Sister Davis, and it was so great, we have a lot of fun together and I'm pretty sure I was just smiling and laughing the whole day. She's awesome and it has been fun being in the same zone and seeing lots of growth for both of us. 
     On Saturday we had a one day mission with the branch, and it was great to see so much support, especially from the relief society here. It also made me so happy to see our awesome recent converts there- Rocky, Cesar, and Dennis. I can just imagine them going out and serving missions as well. But any who, for the one day mission we all went and visited those members who are off and on, and we saw the fruits of it on Sunday when several of them came to church! 
    The youth in our district had a camping trip this past week and went to the caves that us missionaries went to just a couple of weeks ago. Well, one of our investigators (JR) went and once they got back we went and followed up with him and he really enjoyed it, especially the testimony meeting, ha he said he wanted to get up and share as well, but got too nervous at that point. He is doing so well and is progressing towards his baptism. I will really miss teaching him and am hopeful that he will be baptized some day :) 
  Saturday was also Sister Spencer's birthday, so we made sure to eat yummy food and have fun. She and I had so much fun together and had as much missionary fun as possible- listening to our favorite church/efy songs haha, and lots of singing. Oh I'm going to miss her. She is getting transferred as well, we were both surprised and a little teary eyed this morning since we'll be leaving this great area. She and I were the speakers this past Sunday, ha and we didn't know it, but I guess that was our goodbye to them. After church we worked in Callao and our investigators are doing so great, I know they'll join the church. They've got some big ideas now for their lives- ha they even want their boy, little Rem Rem to serve a mission some day. And the other couple is doing so great too, they've got their baptism coming up in just a few weeks. There is something so great about teaching couples, they support and encourage each other as they are both making these difficult but important changes. Another of our awesome investigators, will have her baptism this Saturday- this little group of friends continues to grow as they share the gospel with their other friends. We're excited for these 4 best friends, all recent converts to be able to go hopefully this summer on the temple trip to Manila. 
    This has been a great area. I've grown and learned so much here and cannot wait to apply all that I've learned to my next area and companionship. I will miss this branch, I sat up on the stand this past week before my talk and just thought about how happy I've been here and how much I love these people here. It will definitely be a hard day saying goodbye this Wednesday to this area. I'm glad I was able to speak on Sunday and share my testimony with them. I ended with sharing a recent favorite scripture of mine in 3 Nephi 12:14-16. We are meant to be a light to those around us. We've got the gospel and that happiness can shine through us to those around us. I'm so thankful for the life I've been given, for the blessings that we have because of the restored gospel. It has been a great week, and I'm looking forward to another great one, full of lots of changes! I love you and hope you're all doing well! 
Sister Stabs

Monday, May 12, 2014

Happy Mothers's Day!

Birthday Package!
Dear Family,
Skyping this morning was SO great :) I loved seeing and talking to you all. Ha I really couldn't think of what to say to you all, but hey I'll just explain it all to you when I get home in a few months. I really had so much fun talking to you and am so happy I get to call you all family. 
    This past week was great! We had MLC in Cauayan on Wednesday and it was great getting to see so many friends. I said goodbye to Sister Daelo as well since she'll be heading home at the end of this cycle. I am so thankful to be a part of this mission and to be able to learn from our wonderful mission president and his wife. I will forever be thankful for them and consider them good friends of mine. 
    We saw some exciting progress this week with one of our investigators (the 17 year old) he is growing more and more excited about the gospel and I think he's starting to see and understand more about his potential. He will get to go to the youth camp this next week and I'm excited for him to have that experience and be strengthened from the other youth and from the leaders. The couples that we are teaching are also doing well and their growing faith continues to amaze me. 
     My birthday was SO great. I was seriously so happy with how the day went, I was able to spend it exactly how I wanted to, doing something special for our investigators. We invited them to come to the chapel to watch the Restoration and to eat some yummy food. I'll be sure to send you a picture. I felt very loved that day, treats from the sisters I live with, opening the packages from all of you, reading the sweet letters from both ours and Blake's family, and all the help from a couple of the branch members to get everything put together that day for our investigators. It has been a week full of celebrations, and the celebrations continue with all of the birthdays here this May. 
The Sisters at the church to watch The Restoration with their investigators!
     One of my favorite things this past week was finishing our 60 day Book of Mormon challenge on my birthday. I love that book. What a special thing to get to finish it on my birthday and to think about how it has blessed my life these past 22 wonderful years. I love the Book of Mormon, and I know that it is true. It is a daily source of peace, of guidance, and of comfort. It has the power to change us and to help us become who our Heavenly Father wants us to be. I never tire of reading it and am so thankful that my love for it and understanding of it has grown and become deeper here as I read from it. We are so blessed and so loved. I love seeing it bless and change so many lives. 
       I hope you all have a great week! I love you and keep you all in my prayers! Love and miss you!
- Sister Stabenow

Monday, May 5, 2014

Lucky Us!

Dear family, 
        Another good week here, it started out a little different, i had to rest a bit to take care of my big swollen foot, but now it has healed up and I'm good as new. We had a good CSP the other morning out in Angadanan (Elders Area), just cleaning up (weeding) at their high school- we had a ton of fun and had a good old missionary time listening to and singing along to some Saturday's Warriors music and other church stuff as we were out working. I have the best district here, we all have a lot of fun together. We also had splits this week and I was with Sister Spencer for the day :) lots of fun, good company, and it was so fun going with her... missionaries are really so blessed when it comes to learning a language. Seeing that growth in her is so exciting to me, she is doing so well :) We are having so much fun being in the same apartment and same branch.                                                                                     

       For more details from the week, my favortie area loves us too much, ha two of our appointments there on Sunday night both insisted on feeding us dinner, and then afterwards we had a scheduled dinner appointment still to go to, for a grand total of 3 dinners in one night! busog na busog! This morning our zone headed out for a little adventure and went to the Aglipay caves :) they were huge and nice and cool :) i'll send some pictures. 
    We are continuing to teach one of our awesome investigators (17 years old), he was supposed to be baptized already, but hasn't been able to work out his problems yet with word of wisdom. We've watched this struggle, and have just done our best to show our support and encouragement. He is now getting really serious about all of this, he's got a plan and a strong desire at this point, he even drew out his goal point, of him at the end smoke free and baptized. :) as we were about to leave the other day he had a question for us... he asked if he is the hardest person we have to teach. I just got a big smile on my face. We explained that every person had their own obstacles and hurdles to cross before being baptized, and that we know he can and will get there. We explained how much we enjoy teaching him and how my comp and I both see him as a little brother and see so much potential in him and that is why we continue to come back and teach him. He said the prayer before we left and was just very thankful that we are always there to support him and that we don't get tired of coming back and teaching him. I love being a missionary. 
     I loved your emails this past week especially where you talked about the work you're doing on family history. One of our recent converts just received a calling as a family history consultant for the branch, so we taught them about how important that work is. We were teaching three of our recent converts and one of our investigators and they were all paying close attention. The investigator commented on how he is even more excited to be baptized just realizing that so many more people will also be blessed by his decision. This guy has the best insights... he talked about how it was probably decided before that we would be the lucky ones to get to come to earth at this time where the fullness of the gospel has been restored, and how all of the previous generations that didn't have the opportunity to receive the blessings of the gospel are counting on us to accept the gospel and then do our part to help them. Once again, I love being a missionary, and being strengthened by the testimonies of those around me. 
     I hope you all have a good week! We've got an MLC meeting in Cauyan on Wednesday, probably splits on Thursday, and then we've got some fun plans for my birthday as well, so we'll see how it goes! Thanks for the emails, you guys are the best! Love you so much! 

Yummy Lunch!

Off to the Caves! 

 Fun Zone Activity
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